In an attempt to tempt its dinner customers into restaurants a little earlier in the day, KFC introduced its "Famous Bowl" in 2006. Instead of being served a plate featuring chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn, the new concept was to have it all housed in a single bowl, and topped with cheese. Upon the launch, The Courier-Journal reported a statement from Scott Bergren, KFC's executive vice president: "We know our products are better for lunch when they're portable."
17 years later, the Pittsburgh area served as the test market for the new Smash'd Potato Bowl. This bowl features the brand's signature mashed potatoes and French fries smothered in cheese sauce, bacon, and a three-cheese blend. In 2024, the bowl is going nationwide. Nick Chavez, chief marketing officer of KFC said in a press release, "Now you can smash your hunger with our new Smash'd Potato Bowls, which take comfort to an 11 with a unique twist on all your favorite KFC flavors smashed together. If you like our Famous Bowls, you're going to love this new bowl."
So, will this new Smash'd Potato Bowl be a smash'd-ing success or just a bowl of mush? I headed on over to my local KFC to find out. This review is based on taste, texture, and overall lovableness. I also consider cost in my final verdict. Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer.
What Does KFC's Smash'd Potato Bowl Taste Like?
I received one standard issue Smash'd Potato Bowl and another with the add-on of KFC's chicken nuggets. Popping off the lid, they both looked like super-loaded baked potatoes, which was a good sign of things to come. The top layer is swimming in white and yellow cheeses, where bits of bacon and some fries look like they've been trapped.
Sticking a fork beyond the top surface, the next layer is a mass of mashed potatoes. Digging beyond that level, a floorboard of once-crispy fries lines the bottom of the bowl. This is what I like to call the "poutine problem," where there's so much fun stuff on top of fries that they ruin the fries themselves. Luckily, there were some fries on the edge of the bowl that weren't drowned in this generous display of toppings, adding an additional crunch.
The cheese is nice and nacho-y. The mashed potatoes are fluffy enough and act as the dish's main glue, tying everything together. The bacon crumbles aren't super crispy, but have a nice smokey and salty taste that lends the basic potatoes a dash of flavor. If you opted for the chicken nuggets add-on, unlike the fries, they hold up well butting up next to the mashed potatoes, thanks to their lightly crusted exterior. The chicken has the usual KFC seasoned spice to it, adding a fuller flavor for the rest of the bowl.
How To Buy KFC's Smash'd Potato Bowl And How Much It Costs
KFC's new Smash'd Potato Bowls will be available at select nationwide locations starting January 29, for a limited time only, and while supplies last. The bowl costs $3.49, and for an additional cost, which varies by location, KFC's Chicken Nuggets can be added to the mix. The Smash'd Potato Bowl nets 590 calories, and increases to 760 calories with nuggets in tow.
Smash'd Potato Bowls are available to purchase anytime during KFC's normal operating hours. Most KFCs open anytime between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m., with closing hours differing by location but generally sometime in the late evening. They can be found on the menu under "Special Offers," "Pot Pies & Bowls," and "Combos," where it comes with a drink. The bowls can be ordered in-store at the counter, using self-service kiosks, and at drive-thrus where available. KFC also allows for advance ordering with its "Quick Pick-up" option found on its app or website. In all ordering options, one can customize to remove items from the bowl, or request extra of them. Where available, delivery is also an option, and orders can be placed on DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats. Prices are higher in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as when ordering through third-party websites.
The Final Verdict
While cost isn't everything when it comes to food choices, it's hard to pass up the great deal that is the Smash'd Potato Bowl. This bowl has a very similar price point to other KFC side dishes, including the secret recipe fries and mashed potatoes -- meaning that you basically get two sides for the price of one. The Smash'd Bowl bails out those indecisive customers who just can't choose between fries and mashed potatoes. Why not have both, and much more?
Variety is the spice of life, and for a bowl that gives you so much of it, there's no reason not to throw in an extra couple of bucks to add chicken fingers. The Smash'd Potato Bowl itself may look small, but it certainly packs a lot in, and will fill up even the heartiest of eaters.
I wish there was a way the fries could have remained a little bit crispier, and not become a bit soggy hiding out in the bottom of the bowl. To be fair, the dish isn't called Crisp'd Potato Bowl, but I wouldn't be upset if that was the next option KFC offered. And while we're at it, why not throw some mac & cheese into the mix as well?
Read the original article on Daily Meal.